O'Reilly logo
live online training icon Live Online training

CCNA 200-301 Deep Dive: Cisco CLI and Packet Tracer Basics

Prepare for the new CCNA 200-301 through lecture and hands-on labs

Topic: System Administration
Wendell Odom

The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification creates a de facto standard defining the essential knowledge required for anyone working with computer networks. Cisco completely revamped its entire certification program for 2020, with CCNA taking an even more critical role. Cisco places CCNA as the one starting point for all other Cisco certifications. Anyone pursuing a career in networking should be prepared to work with Cisco, and that process begins with CCNA.

This course uses a series of short, targeted lectures followed by lab exercises that you do in class using the (free) Cisco Packet Tracer simulator. New to Cisco? Anyone can do the labs, with one lab exercise version created for those with little background knowledge, and another for those with appropriate prerequisite skills. The flow works through a series of paired lectures and labs and closes with a short topic of advice about how to learn more and complete your exam preparation for this course’s topics.

You must have Version 7.3 (or later ) of Cisco Packet Tracer installed and confirmed to be working before class begins. Earlier versions do not work for the in-class labs. Refer to the instructions at this page for more detail.

To configure and operate networks that use Cisco devices, you need to learn and master skills with the Command Line Interface (CLI). The CLI allows you to connect to a network device using a terminal emulator, and then type commands. The network device responds to the commands, in some instances supplying operational data back to the user, and in other cases changing the configuration settings of the device. This course discusses tools you can use to learn the CLI, focusing on the free Cisco Packet Tracer simulator – the tool used throughout the CCNA 200-301 Deep Dive series of courses.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

  • How to navigate Cisco IOS Command Line Interface (CLI) modes: User EXEC Mode, Privileged EXEC Mode, and Configuration Mode
  • The process of entering configuration mode, navigating the sub-modes, to add configuration commands, and to then save the configuration
  • In preparation for the rest of the CCNA 200-301 Deep Dive courses, learn how to use a pre-supplied Packet Tracer .pkt file, which supplies a lab topology and initial configuration
  • Become aware of several alternative methods of practicing CLI commands for the CCNA exam, including simulators, virtualization tools, and real hardware
  • The skills needed to navigate and use the CLI, enabling you to later focus on new sets of commands specific to different Cisco switch and router features

This training course is for you because...

  • You want to achieve Cisco CCNA certification
  • You want to learn networking basics for your job and the future
  • You want to pursue one of the Cisco CCNP certifications, and you need to know CCNA topics as a prerequisite
  • You prefer lab-centric learning


  • Have a basic understanding of TCP/IP networking, which can be learned by reading Chapters 1, 2, and 3 of the CCNA 200-301 Official Cert Guide, Volume 1 (available at O’Reilly Online Learning.)

Materials, downloads, or Supplemental Content needed in advance:

You need to have Packet Tracer Version 7.3 installed on the computer you will use during class. Follow this link for the specifics to find, install, and test your Packet Tracer installation.

Recommended Post-Course Learning:

About your instructor

  • Wendell Odom, CCIE No. 1624, creates many of the best-selling Cisco certification products of their types, particular in the routing and switching space. He has pioneered the authorized Cisco Certification Guide series at Cisco Press and has written every edition of the leading CCENT and CCNA Certification Guides. He has written over 30 editions of networking books, video, and software products, ranging in depth from introductory level to CCIE. Wendell has worked as an instructor, course developer, network engineer, and consultant. Find links to more study tools and resources (including his blogs) at www.certskills.com.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Section 1: Introduction (15 Minutes)

  • CCNA 200-301 Exam Overview
  • The Cisco Command Line Interface (CLI)
  • Deep Dive Course Series and Packet Tracer

Section 2: Survey of CLI Practice Options (40 Minutes)

  • Pearson Network Simulator
  • Cisco Virtual Internet Routing Lab (VIRL)
  • GNS3
  • Real Hardware
  • CertSkills Config Labs
  • Cisco Packet Tracer

Section 3: Cisco Packet Tracer for Deep Dive (30 Minutes)

  • Demo: How to Open a Supplied Packet Tracer .pkt File (.pkt)
  • Lab: Download and Use Pre-prepared Packet Tracer .pkt File

Section 4: Using the IOS CLI User and Enable Modes (50 Minutes)

  • Cisco IOS CLI Basics: Logging in, CLI Modes, and Navigation
  • Top N CLI EXEC Commands on Routers and Switches
  • Lab: Exploring CLI Navigation and EXEC Modes
  • Break

Section 5: Using the IOS CLI Configuration Process (40 Minutes)

  • Cisco IOS CLI Basics: Logging in, CLI Modes, and Navigation
  • Top N CLI Configuration Commands on Routers and Switches
  • Lab: Exploring the Configuration Process

Section 6: Exploring Additional Packet Tracer Features (30 Minutes)

  • How to Change Key Packet Tracer Settings
  • How to Build New Topologies
  • Choosing the Best (Simulated) Hardware for a New Topology
  • Lab: Build a New Topology in Packet Tracer

Section 7: Exam Advice and Perspectives for This Course (15 Minutes)

  • How and Where to Learn More about Today’s Topics
  • CCNA Exam Topics and Book Elements in Today’s Course